Friday, August 14, 2015

Disney's "Gigantic" News From D23 Today!

This is just breaking as I'm typing the post and people seem more excited about this news than anything else, including any news about Frozen 2, Moana (although that's a close second and I'll bring you up to date on that shortly), Zootopia, Winnie the Pooh or Once Upon A Time.

What is this, you're wondering? 

This is Disney's long-awaited Jack and the Beanstalk project Giants, now renamed Gigantic,  and news has been announced at the currently-running annual Disney fan expo, D23, in Anaheim California.

The story initially broken by Deadline, here's the gist (emphasis in bold and underlined is mine):
Disney said today at the D23 fan expo in Anaheim that its toon studio’s next project will be Gigantic, a Spain-set take on the Jack And The Beanstalk story.  Nathan Greno, who co-directed 2010’s Tangled, will helm the Disney Animation film with Dorothy McKim (Meet The Robinsons) producing. The film will hit theaters in 2018. 
“We want to make the definitive version of Jack And The Beanstalk,” Greno said onstage at D23. 
(Edit FTNH: Inserting official description below, rather than the paraphrased version) The director said: 
Set in Spain during the Age of Exploration, Disney’s “Gigantic” follows adventure-seeker Jack as he discovers a world of giants hidden within the clouds. He hatches a grand plan with Inma, a 60-foot-tall, 11-year-old girl, and agrees to help her find her way home. But he doesn’t account for her super-sized personality—and who knew giants were so down to earth? 
And it’s not just one Big Person at the top of the beanstalk but an entire world of giants from lots of different cultures, he said. The bad guys are the Storm Giants.
The premise isn't exactly new, though it will be interesting to see a grown-man Jack and giant child pair up. There's been more than one adaptation of the fairy tale that has multiple giants in the clouds. The 'set in Spain' part has sort of been done too, but still, this is the Disney version and soon people will have trouble remembering that. Let me rephrase that: this is the Disney FEATURE-LENGTH version. This will actually be the Disney company's FIFTH adaptation of the English fairy tale, including the animated versions in 19922, and the next in 1947, the Once Upon A Time version (in which Jack was Jaqueline and not-so good-of-heart) and the recent Disney movie version of Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall.
Did we mention that the music is being written by the duo who created Frozen's wildly successful soundtrack? They're far enough along in the process that they played (and sang) one of the songs at the D23 presentation - after Jack meets the giant girl Inma. Apparently it was "aw-dorable!" Being that the giant is 11 years old, we shouldn't be treated to any teenage angst songs like the infamous Frozen ballad, but there's a lot of warning about getting tugs on the heartstrings and the need to bring tissues so you never know.
And here's additional tidbits reported from various places.

To add some cultural flare to film, it is actually set in Spain during the Age of Exploration, so expect Jack to be something of a Christopher Columbus of the skies. 
In addition to the officially released news, our own Eric Eisenberg is reporting from D23, and from what info he's gathered there, it sounds like Gigantic will include entire societies of different sorts of giants, including Storm Giants, who will act as the villains of the story, and will be twice as big as the girl Jack makes friends with. The character of Jack will be a grown man, as opposed to the youth that he is often portrayed as, which will be important to the interaction between Jack and Inma as the film will focus on the relationship between the adult, yet small human, and the young, yet huge, giant.
From InsideTheMagic:
As the announcement was made, a giant green beanstalk emerged on the D23 Expo 2015 show floor in the Walt Disney Animation Studios pavilion, surrounded by sound effects of a cow mooing and a giant grumbling. Artwork was (also) shown during the presentation. (Edit FTNH: I've inserted the main pics throughout this post.)
The definitive version, hey? I just can't imagine that, even if they do include the famous "Fee Fi Fo Fum" line. 

Dreamworks did an impressive homage to the fairy tale in their Puss In Boots film, but it wasn't the main image of the movie, so tends to be forgotten (worth a look if you haven't seen it - the whole film was far better in the use of fairy tales than I expected, for many reasons).

Oh and check out the cow in the clip below of the giant beanstalk 'prop' that appeared during the presentation, as well as a good look at the storybook Spanish village as well:

But no matter how this pans out, I'm excited to see this classically boys' fairy tale come into the Disney feature length canon and am curious to see what they do with the tale. More than that, though, I'm curious to see how people then re-discover and discuss Jack and the Beanstalk, which, if you read this blog, you'll know is one of my favorites. (Plus, my son's name  - yes my love of fairy tales had a BIG influence on his name choice - is going to have a whole Disney styling he can call his own! Sort of... Yes I am particularly biased in being excited about Jack and the Beanstalk things and there's no way it's going to be like Jack the Giant Slayer that, um, 'happened' a couple of years ago. At least some of those beanstalk posters were seriously awesome, [especially THIS one] even if the movie was... not.)

OK. I will admit this one thing: this movie is going to come complete with a ton of beanstalk products I am going to NEED (yes NEED I tell you!) and I am starting to save this very minute..! A giant beanstalk, along with a red hood, is one of the universal symbols for all things fairy tale. I don't care that it's been done to death, is well known etc etc. The sight of a giant beanstalk always sends me to a happy place. Expect more greenery in the Once Upon A Blog offices the moment merchandising and dollars collide.

So what do you think about all this? (Beanstalk product awesomeness or not?)

1 comment:

  1. Well, I'm a big "Jack and the Beanstalk" fan and I will say that this is looking a little more promising than I thought. It at least doesn't look like another "Jack's the villain" version. As for being the definitive version, I'm assuming they mean on film. The story is so well known that I'm sure everyone has the definitive version in their own head. There are still parts that make me scratch my head about this announcement. Why set the quintessential English fairy tale in Spain (and wouldn't it be "Juan and the Beanstalk")? And I still think Disney's pattern of using adjective names is kind of silly (not every adaptation is Wicked, Disney).

    I'm actually more interested in Moana. "Jack and the Beanstalk" is such a well-known commodity while Polynesian folklore and myth isn't well known in this part of the world. And Disney is most useful when they bring something new to the cultural table.